To Open the Eyes of Society

  Crystal Schrecker, Regional Coordinator
Kentucky,  United States
  I was thirteen-years-old, and it was my eighth grade summer vacation.  My family was out of town for the day.  We lived just a short walk from a local swim club.  My parents dropped me off early that morning for swim practice, and I just stayed the rest of the day.  Later that afternoon when I was getting all my things together, “R” offered me a ride home.  He was a family friend and knew me since I was a baby.  Instead of taking me home, he took me to an empty farm in the middle of the woods.  I was sexually assaulted by someone that was supposed to be like an older brother.  After he got what he wanted he took me home.  He said that if I told anybody he would deny it, and that nobody would believe me because I was just a little girl.  Well, he had nothing to worry about, because I didn’t want anyone to know!
At age seventeen, I thought God had completely forgotten about me.  I was on a first date with a co-worker “T”.  After dinner, we went to one of his friend’s house to just hang out.  We were all just sitting around listening to music, when he asked for a kiss.  So I got up, walked over to him, leaned over and gave him a kiss.  That’s when he held me down, and I was raped over and over.  I was kicking and screaming, but nobody seemed to care.
I was able to hide my shameful past for several years.  My parents would try to control me, but I just wouldn’t have it.  I did whatever I wanted and dared anyone to try and stop me.  I was the fun party girl.  I was mad at God and the world.  I felt dirty and worthless.  I had no self-esteem or self-value.  Sex gave me no pleasure, but I felt a need to be accepted and loved.  I had a big temper and chip on each shoulder.  I am easily startled and still have flashbacks.  I had a breakdown with family relationships as well.  I also tried to numb my pain and shame with drugs and alcohol.  My closest friends were Hosea and Cocaine, but luckily I only dabbled in the drug scene and didn’t become an addict.  Even through all this, I was able to get a full academic engineering scholarship to Bradley University in Peoria, IL. 
I was still the fun party girl in college until my drinking and promiscuous behavior finally caught up with me.  I was eighteen and pregnant.  When I got up enough courage to tell the father Gregg, all he said was that he would take care of everything.  He was twenty-two years old and in his fifth and final year of engineering school.  Before I knew what hit me, he was driving me to the abortion clinic.  I was never asked what I wanted to do about the baby, he decided for me.  There needs to be more organizations to push adoption or give women a chance to keep the baby, NOT to hide or get rid of the problem!  There should be more education, presentations, and open discussions regarding crisis pregnancy and options in schools.  I can’t live in the past, but I sure wish someone was there for me when I was pregnant, scared, and all alone. 
I only remember being terrified, mad, and shocked all at the same time.  I did not say a single word to him in the car on the way to the abortion clinic (Women’s Health Practice in Champaigne, IL).  He had borrowed money from his fraternity to pay for the abortion.  When we got there, the first thing they wanted was payment in full.  This was back in 2000, and then it was $600 for a second trimester abortion and an additional $600 for anesthesia.  Anesthesia was not required until third trimester.  Well, we were both college students and broke.  So I was thirteen weeks pregnant and did not have the option for any anesthesia.  After paying at the counter, we sat in the waiting room, for what felt like hours.  All the women sat scared and silent.  He was silent also, not knowing what, if anything, he should say to me.  Next it was time for the ultrasound to verify gestational age.  I had to beg and plead to see the monitor screen, which they refused to let me see until I argued with them for over fifteen minutes.  Finally, they turned the screen toward me.  I could see my BABY, not ball of tissue or clump of cells, but BABY moving around.  Face, hands, and even the heart beating.  I got to see the tiny child turning somersaults in my belly.  After this I expressed my second thoughts to the father.  He replied with, “Honey, I love you, and when we both graduate engineering school, we can be together like I want.  Then if you want to have a baby we can.”  He told me whatever he had to in order to make sure that I had that abortion and got rid of the problem before anyone found out.
A woman called me back again.  This time I was brought to a small room.  No counseling or education was done.  I was only given one-sided opinions, no medical facts.  I was lied to!  I was told that there were rarely any side-effects.  “Most women go out that night.”  It’s really no big deal.  It will all be over soon.  All other medical procedures require INFORMED consent, but I guess abortion clinics don’t have to follow those guidelines, because that would probably significantly reduce their profits!
After filling my head with lies, they took me to a cold room for the procedure.  It was filled with a doctor and many nurses.  The first time I met the doctor, he was putting my feet in stirrups.  As I lied back on the bed, I started sternly saying no several times.  That’s when the doctor had the nurses hold me down.  He clamped the tenaculum on.  That is a metal device with huge pointed teeth that go into a woman’s cervix to pull it down and open.  When that clamped on, I yelled, “STOP!  I can’t do this!”  That is when the doctor told me, “Don’t scream, you’ll scare the other patients.”  I felt violated and threatened, both physically and emotionally.  Keep in mind, with me being thirteen weeks pregnant, they did a D & C on me without any anesthesia!  It felt like they were cutting and scraping my insides out.  All I could hear was a loud, continuous sucking noise.  This excruciating pain lasted several minutes.  I was drenched in sweat.  After they killed my baby, they told me to get dressed, (which I almost passed out doing), and took me to a room in the back for about an hour.  There were several women in that room with the same empty looks on their faces.  I sat there in shock and disbelief of what I had just done.  When I returned to the waiting room to meet Gregg, he never said a word about what he had just made me do.  I felt like my life had ended with my baby’s life on November 13th, 2000.  The reality of my post-abortive life is hidden pain, locked up inside, but not forgotten or behind me!  I am living proof of PAS (post-abortion syndrome), a medical approved diagnosis.  Self-punishment, guilt, and self-condemnation ate away at me, alienated me from God, inhibited any healthy relationships, destroyed my self-esteem, and paralyzed my personal growth. 
I stopped eating, drank all night every night to numb the pain and fill that empty void.  Abortion took my soul, and now I didn’t deserve happiness.  I felt unlovable.  I hated myself, and I was unworthy or forgiveness.  I deserved to be punished for what I did.  I murdered my baby!  For years, I couldn’t even get a PAP smear without passing out, because I would have physical flashbacks.  During a PAP smear, my body was actually feeling the physical pain of my abortion all over again.  I deserved jail-time for murder, or even worse: eternal hell, which was exactly what I gave myself.  A part of me died each time (with the abuse and abortion) until there was nothing left.  So I dropped out of engineering school, moved back home at eighteen years old and 82 pounds, and got back with an ex-boyfriend “P”.  He was older, not ambitious, still lived at home with his parents, drank too much, hot-tempered, and lazy.  He wouldn’t keep a job.  He was happy to have me working multiple jobs and going to school to support him.  All he ever wanted to do was watch sports and go fishing.  It was an unhealthy relationship, just as it was when I was younger and in high school.  I punished myself by marrying him, because I felt that was what I deserved.  My self-punishment lasted over six years.
When I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in 2006, I found much healing and repentance.  I got back my spirit and found purpose in my life.  I was able to heal and get closure with my abortion.  I also got to meet and honor my child, Gracie Marie.  Today, she would be eleven years old.  I love her with all my heart, and I will never forget the day I killed her before I even knew her.  One day, God will meet me at heaven’s gate, with Jesus at His side holding Gracie Marie.  He will bring us back together again.  She will recognize and love me.  Today, she is the angel on my shoulder. 
When I finally told my parents about my deep dark past, they felt awful that I had such a hard life growing up.  They felt like they had failed me as parents, because they never knew or understood why I did the things I did growing up during my childhood.  I lived a life of silence and regret. 
Abortion is psychological devastation!  It’s physical death of the baby and emotional death of the mother.  Abortion is a horrendous penalty to pay for being a confused and lonely pregnant woman.  I was trapped in bondage, full of self-destruction and self-punishment.  I am unable to put into words how much the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat helped me.  It started my healing journey and allowed me to move on with the rest of my life.  I was able to actually see God’s healing for the first time in my life.  I would recommend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat to anyone suffering from abortion, whether you are the grieving mother, father, grandparents, siblings, etc.  Rape and abortion are dehumanizing.  They have devastating physical and psychological consequences.  I have been through it all: cervical dysplagia, pre-cervical cancer, LEEP procedure, multiple colposcopies (biopsies), surgeries to remove uterine scar tissue, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and other gynecological problems.
I have lost years of my life, and I’m still paying for it to this day.  Another lifelong effect of abortion I’m still struggling with is children.  I avoid babies, pregnant women, and families every chance I get.  Do I deserve kids?  Could I be a good parent?  Would a child cause resentment?  Could I bond with another child?  Could I have a healthy relationship with a child?  Would I be good enough?  I don’t feel I deserve to be a mother, so I remain thirty years old and childless. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my unborn daughter.  She would be eleven years old now, but I murdered my helpless, innocent daughter on November 13th, 2000. 
I’m a Christian, and I had an abortion.  I was pro-life my entire childhood, but things quickly changed when I was in what I thought was an impossible situation.  I didn’t feel like I could openly talk to anyone without judgment and punishment.  After numerous attempts to resolve my grief, I found healing.  Psychologists weren’t much help, because they hadn’t been there done that.  After the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat, I was able to find more success in healing with Forgiven and Set Free book by Linda Cochrane, Forbidden Grief book by Dr. Theresa Burke, Healing After the Choice CD by Michael John Poirier, and many other resources.  Now God has shown me His purpose for my life, to humble myself by turning my devastating past into something positive to serve Him.  God’s love is unconditional and never runs out, no matter what the sin, including murderous abortion.  There is no unforgivable sin!  I was wounded, but He kept me by His side.  I am his precious child through His mercy.  He never puts more on your plate than you can handle.  Abortion is not a “quick fix” or “simple medical procedure” without its devastating, horrendous, life-altering damage.  Society is afraid to hear the truth.  It’s easier for them to refuse to admit abortion as a problem, or even talk about it.  I was not even allowed to grieve for my Gracie Marie.
Some ask, “Why relive your painful past?  Why not forget and move on?”  Those people are asking the impossible!  The questions should be…”Why would one continue to endure the burden of suffering post-abortion pain in shamed silence?”  I am Silent No More, because I REFUSE to be imprisoned in shame and guilt.  I speak because I know that my freedom is meant to set others free, letting them know that they too, can stand publicly against the veil that has haunted them for so long.  I want to open the eyes of society with knowledge.  I REFUSE to let society live in denial of PAS any longer!  They need to stand up for me, Gracie Marie, and all the other unborn babies and lonely mothers to be!  Healing often grows into hope of healing those in a similar situation.  I’m a determined survivor to follow God’s plan for my life and serve His purpose!  I will sacrifice my own “public image” in a heartbeat to save even just one woman from abortion and the destruction that follows.  My past is a magnificent work of God, so I am here to serve His purpose, and be…SILENT NO MORE!
Priests for Life